Grand Forks Five Years Later

There have been many changes in Grand Forks in the five years since the flood. Much has been accomplished, but there are still challenges. The rebuilt downtown is a blend of new and old, but vacant buildings remain. New homes have been built, and older homes repaired, but many residents have taken on a lot of debt, and some never returned after the flood. A new dike system is under construction to protect against future floods, but completion is still a few years away. Away from the river, Grand Forks has a new events center, the Alerus Center, and a new hockey arena at the University of North Dakota, the Englestad Arena.

The site of the Security Building on North Third Street., where the April 19, 1997 fire started, is now the Flood Memorial Park. The "Flood Rescue" sculpture represents the many daring rescues of Grand Forks residents that took place during the flood. The Flood Memorial Park also contains a Flood Memorial which has bronze tablets telling the story of the flood. In the background of this photo is the Grand Forks Herald's new building, which replaces the building they lost in the April 19 fire.
Flood Memorial Park
Town Square
South Third Street was the site of the City Center Mall at the time of the flood. The roof of the mall was removed. Several badly damaged buildings were torn down and replaced by the Town Square. The remaining buildings are being renovated for shops and apartments. Several specialty shops are now open in this block. The Town Square is used for weekend farmers' markets, outdoor concerts, and other events.
The Corporate Center at Fourth and Demers was built to replace office space lost in the flood and to attract businesses back to the downtown area. This building is home to a bank, law firm, and accounting firm. Another building of the Corporate Center is partially occupied by a health insurance company. The former First National Bank building on this corner, damaged in the April 19 fire, was renovated, but is still vacant.
Corporate Center
County Building
The County Office Building across from the Courthouse on South Fourth Street replaces office space lost in the flood and consolidates county offices in one location. This is the largest of the downtown buildings built after the flood.
Lincoln Drive was the first neighborhood lost to the flood, on April 18. The homes are now gone, and many of the streets have been removed. This area will become the Lincoln Drive Memorial Park. This will be part of the Greenway, a recreation area running along both sides of the Red River for the length of the city. No homes will be built in this area again.
Lincoln Drive
Lincoln Dike
Construction of the permanent flood protection dike is underway in the Lincoln area. The new dike will run east of Almonte Drive in this area. Dike construction has also begun in several other areas of Grand Forks. When completed, the dike will protect against a repeat of the 1997 flood. Temporary dikes built after the 1997 flood currently protect the city.

East Grand Forks Five Years Later

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This page maintained by Alan Draves. All photos by Alan Draves.